“So you work for an Ad Agency?”
“Ahhh! You mean media?”
“Ok so you are into content creation?”
“Event management, right?”
Mostly these are the kind of responses my 2 minute introduction on what I do elicit. So, what exactly is PR? Yes, it involves some bits of all the aspects mentioned above, but its definition, role, scope and impact is much more and beyond. Till date, I have ridiculously failed to enlighten my family on what exactly I do at work, and I am confident that this post will not accomplish this crucial objective… but I shall still try. My biggest grievance against my chosen profession is this feeling of explaining a secret cult practice and then summing it up as the business of communications. Ironical, right? Business of communications struggles to communicate about itself. A $10bn industry goes unknown while putting clients in the limelight. Tsk tsk.
Ms. Radia, a well known figure in the PR industry had a significant contribution in doing PR for the PR industry. I believe, she was one of the first Indians to catapult our profession from the alleys of anonymity to the front pages and magazine covers, although for seemingly all wrong reasons… but what the heck! Now suddenly PR has started being associated with power, lobbying and manipulation. Sadly, most readers of these front pages will never know that PR is not really Corporate Affairs and Lobbying. These are specialised services and, usually, beyond the realm of PR consulting firms in India.
If I looked beyond my clients, and administered a perception mapping survey of my profession, I am very sure it will throw up some very interesting facts… and some of them may read like this:
- 98% respondents were clueless about what exactly PR professionals do
- 80% believe PR is linked with advertising and events
- 70% understood PR as a glamorous profession where the professionals just need to attend high-profile events in 5 star hotels
- The only PR tool respondents were aware of was Press Release
- 60% believed PR professionals are unethical and unscrupulous
These imaginary stats are basis my numerous interactions with people outside the profession and their “flawed” understanding of our business. Would just like to make yet another attempt to clarify what exactly we do.
What we do?
- Help brands with their internal and external communications strategy
- Craft & execute through-the-line communication campaigns – across traditional, digital and social media
- Manage media queries and map onto relevant opportunities of participation
- Recommend appropriate media channels and news pegs
- Create content – opinion articles, press releases, pitch notes, Q&A, briefing documents, newsletters etc.
- Organise press conference, media roundtable, edit briefing, media interactions and leverage events
- Track competitor updates and stay abreast with industry developments
- Map on to relevant journalists, share story ideas and get them connected with clients
What we don’t do?
- Act as customer care (Well we do in case there are media requests)
- Offer discounts on products launched by our clients
- Only attend high profile events and enjoy the Page 3 life (may be unless you are into lifestyle PR)
- Crib and rant on unprofessionalism or ignorance of journalists
- Crumble under the unrealistic demands of our clients
- PR for us, our work and our superbly interesting career (Where else do you get to interact with company honchos, senior journalists in the first few years of your career?)
So, we may be the select bunch of anonymous, crazy, mostly hated professionals in a thankless job but trust me this is one of its kind professions with extreme highs and lows. The world may not share our joy of jumping at the sight of an article written by a journalist or an opinion piece written by a spokesperson or the high of a well managed event, we shall rejoice and march ahead in glorifying our nameless profession. Kudos to all the anonymous bravehearts!
In case, you have any queries on PR as a profession or rants, tweet me @LizaSaha
Authored by Liza Saha – a true blue digital communications evangelist and a PR maven @ Text 100 (Delhi), who is committed to giving that sexy makeover to her profession.
Image courtesy: toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com